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The Rat

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  1. I left my leftover cards from a prior job in a couple of caches as trade items, but then someone used one to pretend he was me, which was disastrous because I was in law enforcement. I stopped doing that. Once I found a cache while running and had nothing , so I used a thorn to puncture the log sheet in a pattern of six tiny holes in the same pattern as my ceocaching name, THE RAT, and described it when logging my find.
  2. I don't usually promote my own caches, but I know there a number of people who found Operation Futari after it had been converted from a multi cache to a regular one-stage, and who were disappointed at missing the whole story. I converted it back to a multi with almost the same set of stages, although now it has 4, not 3. If you want to relive the experience in the authentic form, you can try it again, although it still has the same ID, log sheet and final location. When I edited the cache to restore it, I found that the edit form does not let me change the type back to multi. I have e-mailed Hemlock twice to ask him to do it, but he has not responded. Does anyone know how to get that accomplished? I have had a couple of complaints from people whose pocket queries are messed up by the wrong type identification.
  3. Well, I both agree and disagree with this comment. Yes, it is just a game and some people take it too seriously. Still, I am one of those lamenting the quality of caches in this area. I really think the emphasis on number of finds is driving it. People carry around film can micros to stick almost anywhere just to keep the numbers of available new caches replenished. I am one of those who enjoyed the first light pole micro (think Birdie) but now find them pretty lame. If you can't do something original, then at least do something trite in an interesting location - scenic or culturally interesting, or make it a puzzle that requires people to learn something new. More directly on WoW's point, I agree with you if the hider is an old hand with a lot of hides - just ignore him (or her) if you don't like the hide - but for the newbies, I think it is important to give feedback, whether negative or positive. With just a little more thought they could have put that cache in an attractive area, rather than back in the dumpster area. With just a little more care averaging or checking a photomap they could have gotten the coordinates right on, or very close, rather than 80 feet off. With a little research they could have posted some interesting facts about the location, or maybe even fixed the five typos on the cache page when they were pointed out to them. This is the kind of thing a considerate cacher should do, and newcomers don't necessarily realize they are substandard until someone tells them as much.
  4. I was about 1 - 2 miles NNW of there. It is not an area open to the public. I did learn, though, that there are a bunch of other parcels up in the area owned for the same purpose (i.e. mitigation). The biologist who was showing us around started naming the owners, mostly corporations, and the size of the parcels, 70 acres here, 150 there, 15 over on the other side, etc. Apparently there is also some red-legged frog habitat being preserved down in the ponds. I suppose no one will remember this post if it ever becomes open, but the reviewers wouldn't either. They approve caches right next to my puzzle caches even when I give them the true coordinates only a few months before. The approvers and owners of the geocaching.com website aren't really into environmentalism, and neither are the vast majority of geocachers, either, for that matter. Just look at the find totals and compute the mileage most of these people are putting on their cars for caching and you'll see the gas usage and air pollution alone disqualify them. I regret to say that when this area does get open, someone will ruin it. If not geocachers then mountain bikers, high school kids going up to get drunk, the land fill owners, etc. The list is endless. It was beautiful to see in its pristine state, though.
  5. I had the privilege this week of getting a tour of some environmental mitigation land VTA acquired when it widened 101. That's land required by law to be acquired and set aside to preserve habitat when other land (environmentally sensitive) is taken and used for a project. It is a large stretch of land, hundreds of acres in fact, on Coyote Ridge of serpentine soil. Serpentine, the state rock, contains naturally occurring asbestos, and is therefore toxic. That means most plants won't grow on it, and the ones that do are quite unique. These plants serve as the hosts for the checkerspot butterfly, which, as it turns out, is an ugly little black-and-white bug that is threatened. I think it's ridiculous to spend millions of taxpayer dollars to preserve the habitat for the bug, but the land is spectacular. I have no trouble spending the money to preserve the land so that people can enjoy it. The land is being managed by the Santa Clara County Open Space District and they are thinking of creating a hiking trail that runs through it, from Anderson reservoir to Calero. I hope they do, because this spot is really worth the trip to see. If they ever do, I imagine there will a restriction against going off trail. Due to the soil, there are no big trees or even sizable bushes. It is all rolling hills covered by native grasses and tiny wildflowers (for another couple of weeks anyway), spotted by rocks. It is is ever opened up for geocaching, I ask that anyone hiding anything make it either extremely easy to find (so that people don't ruin the surrounding area looking for it), or make it clear that it is right on the trail and not to go off. Better yet - just don't try to place anything up there, but do go an hike through it in the springtime The land is on the top of the ridge between Lake Anderson and 101 (just above the land fill). Someone I was with took pictures. When I get them, I'll post one. The land is remote. It took 20 minutes of driving a Jeep up through three locked gates.
  6. I paid by check and it took about six weeks, but that was three years ago. It sounds like they've improved service since then.
  7. I've always subscribed to the view that only one person can really get the FTF, although in group activities it is gracious to give credit in one's log to those who accompanied or helped. In some cases the one who actually spots it first should yield to a partner who did most of the work (e.g. one person solves a hard puzzle cache but goes with someone else to find it and the second person spots it first - he should point it out to person 1 to sign and log first.) However, the gracious and genteel have long since passed from this sport. I gave up FTF hunting pretty quickly after it became apparent that people were playing games such as telling their friends about a new hide, including the coordinates, before it was approved, posting an identical cache page on their personal domain, giving hints to friends but not others, etc. I really don't get why people want to spoil the sport with such insane rivalries and inequitable treatment. It builds "cliques" that remind me of high school. The FTF is not a recognized stat and shouldn't be. It is really in the mind of the logger only, so I suppose if it makes you happy, go for it, but don't expect anyone else considers it an accomplishment. And yes, MotorBug you do need to get a life.
  8. I'm thinking of taking advantage of the all-too-rare nice day of weather tomorrow and going caching instead of to work. I was thinking of something low-key, scenic and with a moderate hike like Ardenwood Scrabble. That one seems to get good reviews in the logs If anyone is interested in joining me, please e-mail me through the Geocaching.com site.
  9. That would probably knock me out of Geocaching altogether. I'll probably rank up near the top in the number of my caches ignored. I would hope so, anyway. I like the idea of the feature, though. It allows me to make the puzzles more challenging, and refuse to give hints (or just give infuriatingly cryptic hints) without guilt, knowing anyone can just ignore my caches and not suffer from an uncleared page. I am definitely of the pick and choose type. Maybe if I lived in some geographic area where there were only 100 caches within a days driving distance I would be trying to clear them all, but around here you'd have to be nuts to keep that mindset. If not, going for all those 1/1 micros will soon make you so.
  10. Yes, that happened to PhilippeGPS and me with TUM. Philippe had supplied some really nice puzzles (Rubik's cube, etc.) in it. There are thieves everywhere, it seems.
  11. Don't underestimate bobcats. I see them from time to time in Rancho San Antonio. Once (about 20 years ago now) I was running down the Wildcat Loop trail (ironically) - the side that runs by the creek - and I spotted a bobcat on the trail below me. Since it was downhill and this was 20 years ago I was going fairly fast, so I didn't have time to stop. I expected it would just run away as I approached it. Instead, as I got close it sprang at me. Luckily I had a foot extended in just the right place to push him away with the sole of my shoe. He didn't even scratch my leg. As I landed my heart rate had jumped about 150% so I stopped to catch my breath and looked back. The cat was crouching and ready to chase me! I turned to face it and looked for a stick or something but there wasn't anything, so I grabbed a handful of dirt and threw it at the cat. The dust must have gotten in its eyes because it kind of shook its head and ran off. Those things aren't big enough to do serious physical harm, but if they bite or scratch, you have a nasty choice to make as to whether or not to start rabies treatment. I doubt you'll be able to catch the thing to take it in for testing. The treatments (vaccine injections) are very painful and the disease is fatal if injections are not started immediately (except one girl survived for the first time ever recently with some experimental treatment). Don't mess with Bob!
  12. Remember Kreebelle's Cache of the Week? I wonder what happened to that. Probably she just stopped getting enough nominees, and too few people showed any gratitude, perhaps. I appreciated her efforts, but I confess I didn't bother to nominate any, although I did read with interest the nominees, and usually went out to find a couple of them. Anyway, we could use her list of winners or nominees as a beginning. Those already have a sort of stamp of approval based on members' votes. I'm assuming she would cooperate, although I haven't seen her logs or posts lately.
  13. These are too good not to share. If someone else has already posted this link, forgive the duplication. Top 10 indications you have a geocaching addiction
  14. We are touched. (... in the head as our grandmother used to say.) That's a very busy work day, cavil, cavil, whine, whine, etc. etc. but I will see what I can do. There's a chance I can make it. No promises.
  15. Over dose? Now there's a Freudian typo. Yeah, Venona, the Soviet spy reincarnated set forth a number of secret communication tasks in a sort of online multi-puzzle/event cache. The meeting place is Big Trees Park in Livermore at 8:00 pm on December 3rd (03-12-200420:00 PST) to "hash" over the fun and games/ work in breaking all the codes and passwords. Pun intended. Fun also. Probably won't make it.
  16. I doubt the Counterintelligence Squad can make it. If Slobinovich shows up, arrest him. This operation is obviously in good hands with the current manpower. I'll expect a written report .
  17. No posts for four days? Where is everybody - on the Venona thread?
  18. 1946 20 December So we need to complete by 12/20/06? Sounds about right at the rate we're going.
  19. You can't be sure it starts with GC. That was a little embarassing. Maybe I need someone to teach me how to use my browser. I hit reload before I posted that last message and when it reloaded, it didn't show the last 5 posts, including the solution to the password, then the forum rolled over to page three, so I got totally lost in what people were posting. I just downloaded Firefox and I'm using it for this thread. Is there a surefire way to make it reload the newest info on the page besides closing it and reopening? I found that works, but the reload button doesn't. I have the same problem with Internet Explorer and WAOL. Do I have to set the history preference to never remember anything I've been to? That seems counterproductive. Ah well, the squad is progressing without me.
  20. You can't be sure it starts with GC. The ID can be the numerical identifier, as in http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?id=87142 What are we up to now, 100001 was GeoROCKS's Ultimate, approved in October so it could be any number up to something a bit higher than that. That should be easy to generate via brute force.
  21. ALGORITHM? Tell me this didn't translate correctly. I think that was just a typo by me. The old pre-Windows decryption program I used did not have cut and paste capability, so I had to write it out by hand then type it into the Forum post. I would have noticed that sort of misspelling, I think, but this is why I asked for someone to check my work. It is very hard to see your own mistakes. Mistkaes. It reminds though, that ALGORITHM is an anagram of LOGARITHM. If you put an S at the end to make ten letter words, they make good keys for cryptarithms or puzzle caches that use letters for numbers. But I digress. SOLTUION NOT SO HARD FOR FINDING PERHAPS. is another typo. It's actually SOLUTION... Sorry about that. But RAMBING I checked.
  22. This sort of reminds me of a couple of puzzle caches where the coordinates were hidden in graphic or audio files. I suspect there is some application out there that modifies zip files (or regular files made to look like zip files) to hide a short message. Has anyone looked at this file with a byte editor or other application?
  23. Even more interesting: I just downloaded pkunzip the original DOS shareware and tried your password, 27November44 and it created a file named stage2.txt, but it's a 0-byte file. All other passwords resulted in a program crash. So we seem to be onto the right password, but either the file is corrupted or there is something more we're supposed to do. The only info I could get out of it is the edit date and time: Friday, November 12, 2004, 7:02:58 PM
  24. (light bulb sputters over head) ... November 27, 1944 looks to be the first message involving the Rosenbergs, which certainly fits the bill for "one particularly notorious missive". I tried several password variations of dates and names and hit upon one that seemed promising: '27November44'. The thing is that while it doesn't give me a wrong password error (hooray!) neither does it seem to extract the Stage2.txt file properly (doh!). I tried it with 2 different programs and saw similar results. I'll keep tinkering with it. (edit to correct the password to the correct date and fix and fix an ironic typo) The Ted Hall cable is another notorious missive, and 11/12/44 is loser to the date this whole Venona thing began. I tried most of the logical variations: 12NOVEMBER1944, 1944NOVEMBER12, NOVEMBER121944, etc. I also couldn't get the same semi-positive results for 27NOVEMBER44 or any of its variants. Just the usual error message.
  25. OVERLORD DDAY OVERLORD1944 DDAY1944 D-DAY D-DAY1944 I couldn't find any major Soviet victories or events in November or December 1944, Mainly tbhey were relieved from pressure by the Allied invasion of the European mainland. I also looked for something in 1954. The CIA website for Venona only had one short letter from late 1944, which didn't have any good names or words.
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